SDR Help Please!

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john1969

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This my first adventure! Just got a NooElec R820t SDR. With their help I downloaded and installed Zadig and SDR Sharp software. Not sure what the hell I'm doing/ All I get is static. Tried FM local stations and NOAA. Nothing.
 

joeuser

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I would think static is a good thing. Did you remember to plug in the antenna? It really does seat only with a good amount of force, the included one anyway.
 

rbm

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Before you hit play, make sure to select 'RTL-SDR/USB' from the drop down box at the top.

Here are some sample settings that I use for NOAA weather broadcasts.

You can zoom in to see the details.

You'll need to hit the 'Configure' button and set the RF gain somewhere in the center to start.
The default is for it to be set to zero. Which makes the dongle almost def.

Rich

 

br0adband

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Springfield MO
And it goes without saying but I'll say it anyway since new people happen upon the wonders of SDR all the time, especially with RTL-sticks from NooElec:

The included antenna is - for the most part - useless for any decent signal reception save for stuff in the 800 MHz or higher range (again, for the most part). Yes it can "pick up" some stuff at lower frequencies; FM radio typically is easy to get primarily because the signals are so powerful to begin with so even that craptastic antenna gets something it can work with.

But your first order of business now should be to get yourself a far more capable antenna, which will mean more than likely you'll need to get a pigtail (MCX connector on one end to attach it to the RTL stick itself and BNC/TNC/SMA/whatever on the other end to attach to an actual antenna). The cable on the included antenna is as low quality as you can get and still actually work, but it too is a piece of crap so I wouldn't bother trying to splice it to something useful, you'll just end up losing more signal than you already area.

After that - meaning getting a decent antenna of some kind, even one you make yourself from coat hangers or electrical wire (seriously) - the sky's the limit with SDR.

"Welcome to the party, pal..." ;)
 

mancow

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This my first adventure! Just got a NooElec R820t SDR. With their help I downloaded and installed Zadig and SDR Sharp software. Not sure what the hell I'm doing/ All I get is static. Tried FM local stations and NOAA. Nothing.
Can you get screen shot of your SDRsharp program so we can see what your settings are?
 
S

screamin72

Guest
All these are good answers and I would like to add some steps.

For SDR# and RTL devices.

After loading the program
Right of the "Play" button is a white box default is "Other(Sound Card)" It is a drop down box, click the down arrow press RTL/USB.
Press Play after you see 000.105.500 appear.
Press Configure. A new window pops up. I recommend selecting RTL AGC
Press Offset Tuning
Press OK

You must calibrate your receiver.
In the Radio section select NFM
Tune to a NOAA weather radio frequency for your area.
Looking at the spectrum analyzer you will see a peak in activity either to the left of the needle or almost to the middle or to the right. You must center the peak of the activity on top of the needle. Here is how to complete this:
Press Configure
You will see ppm correction.
If peak is to the left of the needle go up in ppm correction until the very peak of the activity centers on the needle. If its to the right of the neddle you have to go down in ppm correction. after centered press ok.

Take note ALL RTL2832U R820T tuners have a 28.8khz local oscillator. EACH one is different there is no standard ppm correction. I have 3. One is +58ppm(nano) Number two is +43ppm(mini) Number 3 is +63ppm(mini). Do not use my numbers they will not be right for you. Best to let it heat up 3 minutes then set ppm.



For FM Broadcast
Left side first section says Radio
Select WFM
Select FM Stereo
Select CorrectIQ
Tune you favorite station. If the station has RDS you will see information appear in the box on top right. That is the Spectrum Analyzer with the big red tuning line. (Ya gotta love Youseff's sense of dial type radios with the red needle from the old days)
Max msps without loss is 2.44msps

Understanding how to tune frequencies in SDR# and other software defined radios for newbies.
The frequency display show 12 digits. First 3 digits are gigahertz. Second set of digits is in megahertz. Third set of digits are in kilohertz. Fourth set of digits are in hertz. For FM brodast you want to focus on the Second and third sets of digits. Tune around in 100 khz increments for FM broadcast. Kilohertz the third set of digits.
Example
100.5 fm The KATT
You should see
000.100.500.000 You can use your mouse wheel on each digit or click on each digit.

You can tune another way.
Two boxes in SDR#. Top is spectrum analyzer bottom is water fall. Just clicking on the peaks in the spectrum analyzer tunes to that station. Same as the waterfall. Click on the center of that red area also tunes to that frequency. If set to 2.44msps You will see only 2.44 mhz of frequency but not limited as it will keep tuning and tuning until you reach the limit of the dongle. 24mhz-1.766ghz.



This is just to help you get started.
 
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joeuser

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Messages
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Location
North Central Kansas
Well said all. As for the antenna that's included, it's true. It's not wonderful. However, it did a heck of a job with aircraft data at 1090MHz - much better than my Discone. You can home brew an even better antenna.
 

john1969

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Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
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Location
pa
And it goes without saying but I'll say it anyway since new people happen upon the wonders of SDR all the time, especially with RTL-sticks from NooElec:

The included antenna is - for the most part - useless for any decent signal reception save for stuff in the 800 MHz or higher range (again, for the most part). Yes it can "pick up" some stuff at lower frequencies; FM radio typically is easy to get primarily because the signals are so powerful to begin with so even that craptastic antenna gets something it can work with.

But your first order of business now should be to get yourself a far more capable antenna, which will mean more than likely you'll need to get a pigtail (MCX connector on one end to attach it to the RTL stick itself and BNC/TNC/SMA/whatever on the other end to attach to an actual antenna). The cable on the included antenna is as low quality as you can get and still actually work, but it too is a piece of crap so I wouldn't bother trying to splice it to something useful, you'll just end up losing more signal than you already area.

After that - meaning getting a decent antenna of some kind, even one you make yourself from coat hangers or electrical wire (seriously) - the sky's the limit with SDR.

"Welcome to the party, pal..." ;)
Any suggestions where I may buy these parts? Thanks!

(MCX connector on one end to attach it to the RTL stick itself and BNC/TNC/SMA/whatever on the other end to attach to an actual antenna
 

john1969

Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
22
Location
pa
All these are good answers and I would like to add some steps.

For SDR# and RTL devices.

After loading the program
Right of the "Play" button is a white box default is "Other(Sound Card)" It is a drop down box, click the down arrow press RTL/USB.
Press Play after you see 000.105.500 appear.
Press Configure. A new window pops up. I recommend selecting RTL AGC
Press Offset Tuning
Press OK

You must calibrate your receiver.
In the Radio section select NFM
Tune to a NOAA weather radio frequency for your area.
Looking at the spectrum analyzer you will see a peak in activity either to the left of the needle or almost to the middle or to the right. You must center the peak of the activity on top of the needle. Here is how to complete this:
Press Configure
You will see ppm correction.
If peak is to the left of the needle go up in ppm correction until the very peak of the activity centers on the needle. If its to the right of the neddle you have to go down in ppm correction. after centered press ok.

Take note ALL RTL2832U R820T tuners have a 28.8khz local oscillator. EACH one is different there is no standard ppm correction. I have 3. One is +58ppm(nano) Number two is +43ppm(mini) Number 3 is +63ppm(mini). Do not use my numbers they will not be right for you. Best to let it heat up 3 minutes then set ppm.



For FM Broadcast
Left side first section says Radio
Select WFM
Select FM Stereo
Select CorrectIQ
Tune you favorite station. If the station has RDS you will see information appear in the box on top right. That is the Spectrum Analyzer with the big red tuning line. (Ya gotta love Youseff's sense of dial type radios with the red needle from the old days)
Max msps without loss is 2.44msps

Understanding how to tune frequencies in SDR# and other software defined radios for newbies.
The frequency display show 12 digits. First 3 digits are gigahertz. Second set of digits is in megahertz. Third set of digits are in kilohertz. Fourth set of digits are in hertz. For FM brodast you want to focus on the Second and third sets of digits. Tune around in 100 khz increments for FM broadcast. Kilohertz the third set of digits.
Example
100.5 fm The KATT
You should see
000.100.500.000 You can use your mouse wheel on each digit or click on each digit.

You can tune another way.
Two boxes in SDR#. Top is spectrum analyzer bottom is water fall. Just clicking on the peaks in the spectrum analyzer tunes to that station. Same as the waterfall. Click on the center of that red area also tunes to that frequency. If set to 2.44msps You will see only 2.44 mhz of frequency but not limited as it will keep tuning and tuning until you reach the limit of the dongle. 24mhz-1.766ghz.



This is just to help you get started.
Thank you all for good answers! Must admit I don't know my "steps" Mz Kz ect.....
 
S

screamin72

Guest
Here is a better illustration on this:

100.500mhz
100 megahertz point 500 kilohertz

Gigahertz(ghz)= one billion cycles per second
Megahertz(mhz)= one million cycles per second
Kilohertz(khz)= one thousand cycles per second
Hertz(hz) is 1 cycle per second.

A frequency of 1.5ghz will look like this in SDR#
001.500.000.000

A frequency of 100.5 mhz will look like this in SDR#
000.100.500.000

A frequency of 100khz will look like this in SDR#
000.000.100.000

A frequency of 100hz will look like this is SDR#
000.000.000.100

Did you finally tune in some radio stations in SDR#???
 

popnokick

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Messages
2,138
Location
Northeast PA
john1969- To make a simple, effective, and inexpensive wide band antenna for the RTL SDR from simple hookup wire and a cheap TV antenna transformer, go to this page and scroll down to the wire version of the Off-Center Fed Dipole antenna:
Homebrewed Off-Center Fed Dipole - The RadioReference Wiki
As noted in other reply, you'll need an MMCX to F pigtail adapter to attach to the TV coax cable. Similar adapters are available for other connector types, but the MMCX end is what plugs into the RTL stick:
Amazon.com: 2 x RF pigtail cable F female to MMCX male right angle RG316 30CM: Computers & Accessories

Finally - TV antennas work well with RTL-SDR as well. The same adapter (MMCX to F) can be used to connect to the 75 ohm TV cable. Got an old TV antenna on your roof? Plug it in! And to improve the TV antenna even more, turn the antenna on it's axis so that it is vertically polarized, which is the polarization used by most of what you'll want to receive.
Or.... get a new TV antenna and put it in the attic/crawlspace.... or a window on an upper floor. Any antenna like this will work for the window:
TV Antennas & Supplies  - TV Antennas - Indoor Only - Shop at SolidSignal.com - Page 1
 

N1SQB

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Joined
Jan 25, 2003
Messages
2,461
Location
Somewhere On Earth
It's Hamfest season!

I mention this because I use a telescopic antenna on the base of my original magnetic antenna that came with the dongle. It came off of a Pro-2006 scanner (original screw-in antenna). I believe these antennas were stock on the Pro-2004/5/6 2035/42 series scanners and possibly others. They are a perfect fit and being telescopic, are fully tunable / adjustable. I highly suggest going to a Hamfest and bringing the base part of the original dongle antenna with you. You may find something similar to fit. Obviously there is no substitute for a good outside antenna, but this set up has produced much better results on all 3 of my dongles vs. the stock one, without the need for adapters or jumpers. Just a suggestion.....

Manny
 
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br0adband

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Apr 8, 2005
Messages
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Location
Springfield MO
Any suggestions where I may buy these parts? Thanks!

(MCX connector on one end to attach it to the RTL stick itself and BNC/TNC/SMA/whatever on the other end to attach to an actual antenna
Do a search at various sites like Amazon or eBay for the keywords "mcx pigtail" (use quotes around both terms if needed to narrow it down). That should get you a bunch of potential options to work with from 3" versions to several feet if needed.
 

N1SQB

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Joined
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Messages
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Somewhere On Earth
Great find Manny. A thin square or circle of sheet metal makes a good portable ground plane also.

Ground Plane
I totally agree Dave! Actually, I use an 8X8 inch square metal plate, which I did not think of putting in the picture! Grr! While not the exact size recommended, it does a pretty good job !

Manny
 
Last edited:

john1969

Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
22
Location
pa
Here is a better illustration on this:

100.500mhz
100 megahertz point 500 kilohertz

Gigahertz(ghz)= one billion cycles per second
Megahertz(mhz)= one million cycles per second
Kilohertz(khz)= one thousand cycles per second
Hertz(hz) is 1 cycle per second.

A frequency of 1.5ghz will look like this in SDR#
001.500.000.000

A frequency of 100.5 mhz will look like this in SDR#
000.100.500.000

A frequency of 100khz will look like this in SDR#
000.000.100.000

A frequency of 100hz will look like this is SDR#
000.000.000.100

Did you finally tune in some radio stations in SDR#???
Yes, some local FM. I was hoping the software would allow me to scan between certain ranges. Or does it?
 

takedownman5150

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Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
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Location
CALIPATRIA, CALIFORNIA
<<<<NEWBIE

All these are good answers and I would like to add some steps.

For SDR# and RTL devices.

After loading the program
Right of the "Play" button is a white box default is "Other(Sound Card)" It is a drop down box, click the down arrow press RTL/USB.
Press Play after you see 000.105.500 appear.
Press Configure. A new window pops up. I recommend selecting RTL AGC
Press Offset Tuning
Press OK

You must calibrate your receiver.
In the Radio section select NFM
Tune to a NOAA weather radio frequency for your area.
Looking at the spectrum analyzer you will see a peak in activity either to the left of the needle or almost to the middle or to the right. You must center the peak of the activity on top of the needle. Here is how to complete this:
Press Configure
You will see ppm correction.
If peak is to the left of the needle go up in ppm correction until the very peak of the activity centers on the needle. If its to the right of the neddle you have to go down in ppm correction. after centered press ok.

Take note ALL RTL2832U R820T tuners have a 28.8khz local oscillator. EACH one is different there is no standard ppm correction. I have 3. One is +58ppm(nano) Number two is +43ppm(mini) Number 3 is +63ppm(mini). Do not use my numbers they will not be right for you. Best to let it heat up 3 minutes then set ppm.



For FM Broadcast
Left side first section says Radio
Select WFM
Select FM Stereo
Select CorrectIQ
Tune you favorite station. If the station has RDS you will see information appear in the box on top right. That is the Spectrum Analyzer with the big red tuning line. (Ya gotta love Youseff's sense of dial type radios with the red needle from the old days)
Max msps without loss is 2.44msps

Understanding how to tune frequencies in SDR# and other software defined radios for newbies.
The frequency display show 12 digits. First 3 digits are gigahertz. Second set of digits is in megahertz. Third set of digits are in kilohertz. Fourth set of digits are in hertz. For FM brodast you want to focus on the Second and third sets of digits. Tune around in 100 khz increments for FM broadcast. Kilohertz the third set of digits.
Example
100.5 fm The KATT
You should see
000.100.500.000 You can use your mouse wheel on each digit or click on each digit.

You can tune another way.
Two boxes in SDR#. Top is spectrum analyzer bottom is water fall. Just clicking on the peaks in the spectrum analyzer tunes to that station. Same as the waterfall. Click on the center of that red area also tunes to that frequency. If set to 2.44msps You will see only 2.44 mhz of frequency but not limited as it will keep tuning and tuning until you reach the limit of the dongle. 24mhz-1.766ghz.



This is just to help you get started.
Thanks for this..was trying to figure out where to start on the yahoo sdr# group site. I just ordered my NooElec from amazon. Is there any other advise or reading while waiting ? Does anyone know if this is shipped from china as the 10 $ dongle takes 6-8 weeks ? Thanks again, Rich
 

RonnieUSA

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Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
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Location
Rowan County,KY (Morehead)
Thanks for this..was trying to figure out where to start on the yahoo sdr# group site. I just ordered my NooElec from amazon. Is there any other advise or reading while waiting ? Does anyone know if this is shipped from china as the 10 $ dongle takes 6-8 weeks ? Thanks again, Rich
If this is the one You ordered then You should have it by the weekend.
Amazon.com: NooElec Brand RTL-SDR, FM+DAB, DVB-T USB Stick Set with RTL2832U & R820T. Great SDR for SDR#, HDSDR, and Other Popular SDR Software Packages!: Electronics

Sold by NooElec and Fulfilled by Amazon.
 
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